Leeds United 0-0 Manchester United - Kalvin Phillips' good day, Helder Costa's struggle and Craig Pawson's Gatecrasher tribute

Leeds United moved above Arsenal in the Premier League, into ninth position, with Sunday's 0-0 draw at home to Manchester United.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 5:45 am
RIGHT BALANCE - Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips got the level of physicality just right against Manchester United, in the 0-0 draw at Elland Road. Pic: Tony Johnson

The Whites continue to raise the bar for themselves and this performance was another good one, albeit mostly in their own half of the pitch.

Here's the YEP take on who had a good day and who didn't.

Good day

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Kalvin Phillips

Gareth Southgate was in attendance and will have been delighted with what he saw from Phillips in the midfield. The Leeds man was at his aggressive best with the kind of performance that can book his place at the Euros. As Marcelo Bielsa said, it's difficult to tread the line between aggression and violence, fair tackles and fouls, and he did it superbly. It was redemption for the performance at Old Trafford earlier in the season when he was hooked at half-time.

Marcelo Bielsa

This result, specifically the clean sheet, was one in the eye for anyone who went overboard about the Argentine's tactical ability or defensive nous, after the 6-2 defeat at Old Trafford. The hysteria got a rise out of him then, but Leeds' defensive performances and their record of late has shown he knows exactly how to stop goals going in at the wrong end.

Pascal Struijk

His stock continues to rise. What impressed most was how calm and collected he was, under no little amount of pressure. He read the game well, he defended well, tackled well and passed the ball well. Leeds have found Liam Cooper's long-term successor and he's ready to fill the role right now.

Bad day

Helder Costa

He struggled to make his mark in the first half and although he had a glimpse of goal in the second, his performance was still underwhelming in the second. The challenge by Aaron Wan-Bissaka that took him out of the game looked incredibly painful and hopefully won't leave him out for long.

Jack Harrison

Like Costa he was unable to make much happen in the game before he was Bielsa's first choice to be withdrawn. With his Manchester United history and being a Manchester City player, officially, he will have been desperate to do well in this one. It just wasn't his day.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Positivity is great to see and the Manchester United manager appears to have it in abundance. It's undoubtedly a strength. But lauding his players' fitness levels after a 0-0 draw because they didn't get 'steamrollered' by a newly promoted side, felt a lot like clutching at straws. The boss of the second-placed team in the country should surely be setting his sights a little higher than fitness levels, when up against a team still so short of top flight experience.

Number of the day

32

Sheffielder Craig Pawson paid tribute to the city's famous rave venue Gatecrasher with his whistling performance. Thirty-two free-kicks gave the game an incredibly frustrating stop-start feel. Not all of them warranted a whistle, either. Leeds felt hard done by, earning only 11 to Manchester United's 21.

Turning point

Manchester United 6-2 Leeds United. Since that game Leeds have worked incredibly hard to improve their defensive record and to give themselves more protection. It was always unlikely that this game would be anywhere near as high-scoring but shutting out Rashford, Fernandes et al is another feather in Bielsa's back four's cap.